Northeastern has a longstanding reputation of being committed to experiential education and to social justice, which is something I’ve been dedicated to my entire career. For example, I have served on the boards of Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union in Connecticut.
Experiential education is now becoming a trend among law schools, but Northeastern’s School of Law has championed experiential learning since 1968. The idea of three full years reading appellate cases in large classrooms does not make any sense in the current economic climate. Law schools are realizing they have to find new ways of teaching students.
The law school is known for excellence in public-interest law. What else would you like it to be known for?
Many public-interest lawyers work for nonprofit organizations, which are governed by a very complex area of law. There are very complicated governance rules, complicated tax rules, and complicated conflict of interest rules—all of which I think are things that Northeastern ought to teach.
I’d also like to see Northeastern lawyers known for bringing technology to bear. Beyond that, I believe our faculty should be collaborating on the university’s research themes: health, security, and sustainability.
What are the legal profession’s biggest challenges, and where do the remedies lie?
There aren’t enough jobs for young lawyers. Some may say there are too many lawyers, but look at the percentage of family-law cases going to court or in which people are representing themselves because they can’t afford a lawyer. It’s as high as it’s ever been. Judges nationwide are sounding alarm bells because they can’t handle the number of cases coming in on this pro se basis.
It is also crucial that any law school that expects to thrive over the next 20 years has a greater international focus. I’d like to see all of our students do one of their four co-ops overseas.
ABOUT THE DEAN
JD: Harvard Law School
Member: The Bar of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Previous Institution: University of Connecticut School of Law
Scholarship focus: Constitutional law, jurisprudence, property